This new improvising group – named after a large asteroid circling our sun – draws disparate personalities into one eccentric orbit. Han-Earl Park, a guitarist of Korean descent, resident in Ireland, is as at home in underground Noise as he is dueting with free jazz heroes like Paul Dunmall. Trumpeter Ian Smith is a stalwart of the London Improv scene and drummer Charles Hayward is best known for his work with seminal post-Punk experimenters This Heat. On these live recordings they generate a surprising amount of heat. Park uses pedals to smudge and smear chords or rolls out strange robotic grumblings, a technician playing the electricity as much as the guitar. Smith has a high, taut attack, like a more tuneful version of Donald Ayler's pure energy. And Hayward – despite a penchant for tight grooves – makes a good fist of playing free, only slightly marred by a somewhat lumpen bass drum. Veteran Improv saxophonist Lol Coxhill rounds it out to a quartet for two tunes, making this a very satisfying debut.
Daniel Spicer Jazzwise.
Charles Hayward/Han-earl Park/Ian Smith/Lol Coxhill
SLAM CD 528
Riveting in its scope and cohesion, this seven-track slice of Free Improv captures the sounds made one night at a London club by an ad-hoc assemblage of players, who ordinarily may not have been expected to jell so effectively.
Ostensible draw is Avant-Rock percussionist Charles Hayward, who over the years has not only been part of bands such as This Heat and Massacre, but also improvised with the likes of soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, bassist Hugh Hopper and composer Heiner Goebbels. Most of this gig at Café OTO pairs him with trumpeter and flugelhornist Ian Smith, a mainstay of the London Improvisers' Orchestra, who traded Dublin for the British capital years ago; and sharp-witted, Cork-based guitarist Han-earl Park, who has played with saxman Paul Dunmall among others. Coxhill himself adds his idiosyncratic saxophone delivery to the trio on the final two tracks.
Before Coxhill's reed tones supplement the sound mix, Hayward shows that he's a lot more than a John Bonham or Phil Collins-wanna-be with his inventive variety of percussion implements plus rhythm strategies that include the melodic. Horizontally blowing into a tube that connects a free reed system with the board, he's additionally produces flexible, accordion-like puffs which meld with Smith's capillary triplets and bent, nephritic textures during the nearly 18½-minute introductory "Kalimantan". Contrapuntal inventions are subtly yet simultaneously appended by the drummer's off-side drags and bouncing rim shots, as Park deconstructs his styling with rasgueado chording and string-snapping twangs.
As they continue, the three prod the tuner every way before exposing its final variant. The treatment consists of blowsy pedal-point from the trumpeter; shuffles and drags from Hayward; and remarkable strategies from the guitarist which involve investing each string with a different weight as he coaxes tones from near the machine head all the way down past the bridge. Half-valve plunger work from Smith includes bent note flutters; while the drummer's railway signal-crossing-like bell ringing and repetitive cymbal slams provide perfect matches for the guitarist's flattened string patterns and note extensions.
Subsequent improvisations find Hayward, at one point, banging his wood blocks and cow bell beside Park's near-effortless, minimalist guitar strokes, shakes and strums in counterpoint with Smith's staccato breaks and internal blubbering. Alternating braying triplets or grace note quivers from the trumpeter are repeated as often as necessary to link up with the percussionist's nerve beats and upturning smacks and ruffs as the guitarist's slurred fingering, distorted licks and clanging strings produce a sound midway between Derek Bailey and Derek and the Dominos.
Coxhill's distinctive and shrill flutter tonguing adds a new dimension to the last 24-odd minutes of the session. On "Aachen" for instance, his vocalized lines and split tones make common cause with Park's rhythmically discursive guitar plinking. Elsewhere he vamps a POMO shout chorus that links his reed bites with Smith's rubato peeps and slithering squeaks as the drummer plays a Rock-styled backbeat. Spetrofluctuation is audible from both horn players and by the set's completion the pressurized cacophony is harmonized in such a way that individual excursions include melodic quivers, brass bluster, false-register reed asides, guiro-like friction and prominent bass-drum rumbles.
A textbook example of high-class improvising, Mathilde 253's lack of even Free Music so-called big names shouldn't be a reason for it to not reach the intelligent audience it deserves.
--Ken Waxman http://www.jazzword.com/review/127410
Brian Morton, Moment's Notice, February, 2011
Mathilde 253 is one of those ‘name' groups that sprang fully-formed from a single playing moment - in fact the very moment at London's Café Oto last April that is documented on this debut CD – but seems to have been around for much longer. As far as the individual players are concerned, trumpeter Ian Smith is now a significant figure on the Emanem axis of British improvisers; news that Mathilde 253 are shortly to tour Ireland with Wadada Leo Smith has certain comic potential but also prompts the thought that a second trumpeter, even a distinguished international guest, might be gilding the lily. Ian Smith is a formidable technician and a profoundly intuitive music maker, with the ability to deliver exactly the right sound, or very often the right sonic texture, at the psychological moment. An ideal group or ensemble player, he seems remarkably free of ego in performance, often preferring to wait out passages before delivering a tiny killer stroke. One knows that this was a Miles Davis stratagem, but it's the other Smith he resembles most completely, though some of his articulations here sound as if they might be influenced by Bill Dixon.
Guitarist Han-earl Park is a musical philosopher. He works in a variety of fields, develops low-intensity electronic devices, often for context-specific performances, and like his playing partner never insists on grabbing the spotlight. One of the delights of this live session is that one very frequently can't distinguish who is making particular sounds. There's not much idiomatic guitar-playing, though Park is very much in the Derek Bailey rather than the Keith Rowe line; he uses relatively orthodox technique to unorthodox ends.
Drummer (and occasional melodica player) Charles Hayward is perhaps the best known of the three, largely due to this role with pioneering, Camberwell-based This Heat, one of the most experimental ‘punk' groups to emerge on the London scene during the late ‘70s. The group's sessions for John Peel and the bootleg of their 1980 concert at the Institute of Contemporary Arts are key documents in British creative music of the last thirty years. It's fascinating to find Hayward in this setting, taking up the mantle – different as they were – of the late Steve Harris. Mathilde 253 has something of the guttural authority and generosity of gesture one associates with Zaum, which Harris led until his untimely death. They also make a specific virtue of building other musicians into the group language. Leo Smith is on the face of it a surprising addition. Lol Coxhill makes more immediate sense. An immensely thoughtful, but eternally self-effacing player, he slots in here for just the two final cuts, ‘Aachen' and ‘Oaxaca', and in a curious way acts as a kind of chorus/facilitator, summing up and simplifying aspects of the group language, rather than challenging or antagonising it, as guest players very often do.
It's a long set, but has sufficient underlying momentum to pass with deceptive speed. It takes an alert listener to distinguish occasional quietuses in the process with track endings, and there is a moment between ‘Ishikari' and ‘Jixi' when it sounds almost as if one aspect of the previous piece has been filleted out for more sustained attention. Smith favors long mongrelly growls and scales that ascend and descend in illogical ways, like the stairs in an M C Escher print. Hayward has a very distinct sense of time underneath the freedom. It's not untypical of British free drummers to imply some kind of steady pulse. Eddie Prévost does it, John Stevens did it far more often than anyone supposed, Tonys Oxley and Levin almost always do. I'd have picked Hayward out as a Brit even if there had been no accompanying details.
This is an exciting new venture for him and for the others. One can reasonably expect unexpected things from Park, who is a delightful shape-shifter and Smith always repays the closest attention, and claims it with sudden open-horn breakouts if the fabric of the music gets too smooth and uninflected. Great stuff and a disc that reassert's Slam's importance as a free music imprint.
This new improvising group—named after a large asteroid circling our sun—draws disparate personalities into one eccentric orbit. Han-Earl Park, a guitarist of Korean descent, residing in Ireland, is as at home in underground Noise as he is dueting with free jazz heroes like Paul Dunmall. Trumpeter Ian Smith is a stalwart of the London improv scene and drummer Charles Hayward is best known for his work with seminal post-Punk experimenters This Heat. On these live recordings they generate a surprising amount of heat. Park uses pedals to smudge and smear chords or rolls out strange robotic grumblings, a technician playing electricity as much as the guitar. Smith has a high, taut attach, like a more tuneful version of Donald Ayler's pure energy. And Hayward—despite a penchant for tight grooves—makes a good fist of playing freely, only slightly marred by a somewhat lumpen bass drum. Veteran saxophonist Coxhill rounds it out to a quartet for two tunes, making this a very satisfying debut. Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise, March 2011
Guillaume Belhomme "fantastic record, congratulations,"
English translation from French:
Two "strange" formations emerge here - one night in 2008 at Cafe Oto in London - by drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat): trio in with guitaristHan-Earl Parkand cornetist and trumpeter Ian Smith; a partnership reinforced in the final two improvisations by the presence of saxophonist Lol Coxhill.
"The tentative opening (Hayward on melodica) gives some indication of the tenor of the entire improvisation: reflective, in which the participants compete in subtleties (Park eroding contours of wailing in varied volumes, Smith with a striking horn). Passing through a section of ravishing suspension - of near absence for Hayward -, it becomes necessary to return to turbulence to remain convincing. Then Coxhill can appear: the soprano elaborates parallel reflections in phrases of Dublin brass; ordered and entwining, weaves on the crescendo where Hayward re-establishes his presence, a tapestry of choice: that of another Mathilde, of a complete beauty."
Deux « étranges » formations emmenées ici – soit un soir de 2008 au Café Oto de Londres – par le batteurCharles Hayward(This Heat) : trio dans lequel on trouvait le guitariste Han-Earl Parket le trompettiste et cornettisteIan Smith; association renforcée, le temps de deux dernières improvisations, par la présence du saxophonisteLol Coxhill.
La mise en place inquiète (Haywardau mélodica) donnait quelques indices sur la teneur de l'entière improvisation : réfléchie, et dans laquelle les intervenants rivalisent de subtilités (Parkérodant les reliefs de plaintes aux volumes variés,Smithau bugle saisissant). Passée la période de flottement ravissant – de vacance, presque, pourHayward–, il faudra bien revenir aux turbulences afin de s'y montrer autrement convaincant. Alors,Coxhillpeut apparaître : le soprano élabore des parallèles aux phrases du cuivre dublinois ; ourdit et trame, enfin tisse, sur le métier remonté crescendo par Hayward, une tapisserie de choix : celle d'une autre Mathilde, à la beauté tout roturière. http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2011/01/25/20217548.html
The genius is not something that is on the street, but apparently in some studio recording something positive you can not reach.Avant rock drummerCharles Hayward(founder of the groupThis Heatdecided to deal with musicians from quite different musical areas,Han-earl Park, he also used the noise geneere and trumpeterIan Smith, one of the icons of improvisation radical English and theLondon Improvisers'Orchestra. With them on the last two tracks adds another famous character of the vanguard, the soprano saxophonistLol Coxhill.
The interaction between the three (and later a quartet) proceeds completely throwing in the cauldron a bit of everything, in situations that we hear fromFred Frith, but here everything proceeds in a more logical, perhaps the driving force of the trumpeter who Crop specific spaces, thus avoiding the slides too kind to the noise.
Lol Coxhillin the final tracks (more than twenty minutes of improvisation at full blast) helps to enliven the company, ensuring that the voltage drop.A whole are nearly seventy-five minutes of music that run faster, where ideas come quickly and musicians are having fun putting them into practice.
Albums that are not produced in certain series, so well is the insight of George Haslamto publish them: another remarkable thing in his catalog.
La genialità non è qualcosa che si trova per strada, ma a quanto pare in qualche studio di registrazione qualcosa di positivo si riesce a raggiungere. Il batterista avant rockCharles Hayward(fondatore del gruppoThis Heatha deciso di confrontarsi con musicisti provenienti da tutt´altre aree musicali,Han-earl Park, anche lui abituato al geneere noise e il trombettistaIan Smith, una delle icone dell´improvvisazione radicale inglese e parte dellaLondon Improvisers´Orchestra. Insieme a loro sugli ultimi due brani si aggiunge un´altro famoso personaggio dell´avanguardia, il sassofonista sopranoLol Coxhill.
L´interazione fra i tre (e poi in quartetto) procede perfettamente buttando nel calderone un pò di tutto, in situazioni che avevamo ascoltate da unFred Frith, ma qui procede tutto in modo più logico, forse per la forza propulsiva del trombettista che si ritaglia degli spazi precisi, evitando che si scivoli troppo verso il genere noise.
Lol Coxhillnei brani finali (più di venti minuti di improvvisazione a tutto spiano) contribuisce ad animare la compagnia, evitando che scenda la tensione. Sono nell´insieme quasi settantacinque minuti di musica che scorrono veloci, in cui le idee arrivano subito ed di musicisti si divertono a metterle in pratica.
Album così non si producono certo in serie, per cui ben venga l´intuizione diGeorge Haslamdi pubblicarli: un altra cosa notevole nel suo catalogo.
Cosimo Parisi http://www.musicboom.it/mostra_recensioni.php?Unico=20101220012431
MATHILDE 253 / Mathilde 253 (Slam Productions)
Une session très sympa d'un trio relevé: Charles Hayward, Han-Earl Park et Ian Smith, plus Lol Coxhill comme invité sur deux des sept pièces. De l'improvisation libre soutenue, vive comme c'est souvent le cas avec Hayward à la batterie. Pas aussi prenant que Clear Frame (autre projet de Hayward somme toute similaire) mais aussi moins rock, plusfree.
A fun session by a high-calibre trio: Charles Hayward, Han-Earl Park, and Ian Smith, plus Lol Coxhill as a guest on two of the seven tracks. Consistent free improvisation, lively like so often the case with Hayward at the drum kit. Not as consistent as the Clear Frame CD (another rather similar Hayward project), though less rock and morefree.
WORD STARTS HERE ********************************
Over the last week or so I have listened through a few times to a CD I was sent by a group that can probably be easily described as belonging to the older, busier, perhaps more jazz-infused end of free improvisation. The disc is a new release by a group named Mathilde 253released on the Slam label, a long established imprint based about five miles up the road from me here. This is probably the first release I have listened to on the label for about fifteen years. Mathilde 253 then are the core group of Charles Hayward, (drums, percussion, melodica) Han-Earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn). On the last two of the seven tracks here the trio is augmented by the familiar saxophone of Lol Coxhill.
To begin with, I should make clear that I was, and am, really pleased to have been sent this CD. While this far end of the improv scene isn't an area I usually find myself frequenting, the connections between this music and what I listen to most nights is clear, and my CD shelves do still contain a fair number of similarly sounding CDs that date back to my early experiences with improv. I may have moved my listening away from this busier, itchy, occasionally slightly melodic area of music in recent years but its great to delve back into it from time to time, and the challenge of finding enjoyment in this CD was one I approached with much relish.
Ultimately then, this CD sounds pretty much how I thought it might, a bustling, talkative seventy-four minutes made up of angular, Baileyesque electric guitar, some fantastic drum splashes mixed with occasional bursts of less traditional percussive sounds such as the small metallic chimes heard int he opening seconds of the album, and the chattery, conversational style of the trumpet and horn. For some reason the music conjures images of pet mice running about in a cage, rushing from a play wheel to a source of food, to somewhere else again, occasionally stopping abruptly to take in what is going on around them, often bumping into one another, existing and interacting together at high speed in a combined space, working as a unit and yet giving the impression of all going about their business oblivious to one another. Extended metaphors to one side for a moment though, the playing here is very fine, a tightly woven mass of sounds with no one real dominating voice but each musician expressive and energetic. The music is all about the conversation, but a real heart-on-the-sleeve collision course of a conversation, but nevertheless the result of the musicians listening to one another and responding. The addition of Coxhill's softer soprano on the last two pieces do slow the music a little, but the jazz credentials remain. If the music's progression is a little less choppy then melody and hints at standardised rhythm creep in, but the improvised discussion carries on, perhaps the words are less heated but the debate remains of interest.
I'll be honest, my personal taste in improvisation leans more towards the slower, more textural, less hectic call and response strand of the music, but that doesn't mean that once in a while I can't enjoy dipping my toes into the more flared musicianship of albums likeMathilde 253and enjoying the sensation. The argument against this music of course is that it is unoriginal and makes no attempt to push at new boundaries, but then if I think about it, so few of the CDs I normally enjoy succeed at this either.Mathilde 253is a well executed example of how pleasing this music can be, and while I may not be in a huge hurry to alter my listening preferences right now I did enjoy following the twists and turns, arguments and accompanying flourishes on this CD and am very glad that the musicians saw fit to send it my way.
Richard Pinnell http://www.thewatchfulear.com/
Opium Mass TRANSLATED FROM RUSSIAN
Russian -> English courtesy of Leofranc Holford-Strevens
The drummer Charles Hayward, one of the founding fathers of the great post-punk group This Heat, a member of Phil Mazanera's short-lived group Quiet Sun and an entertaining solo artist (his 1987 album «Survive the Gesture» is in my opinion one of the main art-pop works of the 1980s that hardly anyone noticed), has gathered a new group. It is called Mathilde 253 and comprises on equal terms with Hayward the guitarist Han-earl Park and the trumpeter Ian Smith—two outstanding British improvisers, with whom those who performed during their careers range from Anthony Braxton's great comrade-in-arms Wadada Leo Smith to Derek Bailey. On their first and so far only disk we still hear the saxophone of Lol Coxhill, оne of the chief figures of the whole British jazz scene—but he appears in the capacity of an invited guest. As one might guess, Mathilde 253's music is free improvisation, in which the jazz idiom predominates, but which does not attain to jazz proper even in the freest understanding of the term. If the disk had been made only by Park, Smith, and Coxhill, it would have been interesting, without question masterly, but, I think, a trifle dull; it is Hayward with his drums, heavy and as it were standing aside from the music itself, not attempting either to keep up with it or to set its pace, who gives Mathilde 253's improvisations a third dimension. With an accuracy remarkable in one who for much of his life played non-improvised music, he listens to his colleagues, gives them space to live and never steals the limelight [literally ‘pulls the blanket over to himself'] — but he it is whom it is a particular pleasure to hear. I should also like to remark on the mood of the music: lately it seems that that English improvisers have adopted a manner of playing that is either extraordinarily aggressive and fast, or utterly lethargic—but Mathilde 253 plays as it were in the middle between these two tempi. No aggression, but neither does it send you to sleep. http://opiummass.wordpress.com/
Mathilde 253. Come l'asteroide del diametro di 53 km scoperto nel 1885 da Johann Palisa. Come il trio di improvvisatori che con l'omonimo album di debutto ci presenta una musica che sembra provenire da un altro pianeta. Un oggetto spaziale non identificato che lambisce la terra, le sue miserie e le sue tribolazioni, e lancia un messaggio di speranza per un mondo migliore...
Sette improvvisazioni che vanno dai sei minuti e rotti di "Matanuska" ai quasi diciannove di "Kalimantan," identificate solo da nomi perché i settantaquattro minuti complessivi di Mathilde 253 formano un'unica, indissolubile galassia di suoni, sussurri, grida, silenzi, rumori, frammenti di vita. Alla ricerca della bellezza primordiale e incontaminata, non soggetta alle sovrastrutture, ai codici interpretativi, ai canoni consolidati
Le percussioni di Charles Hayward sono impulsi, fremiti di pelli, vibrazioni di metalli che interagiscono con lo spazio, oggetti che sfuggono alle leggi della fisica e della forza di gravità. Le corde della chitarra di Han-Earl Park sono pulsar che lanciano segnali dallo spazio, onde elettromagnetiche che contaminano la scena e ne modificano continuamente le sembianze. La tromba (?) di Ian Smith vaga errabonda in questo vuoto pneumatico deformando suoni, riflettendo immagini che si disintegrano come pulviscolo spaziale.
Nella sua orbita l'asteroide Mathilde 253 intercetta il pianeta Lol Coxhill, ma il rischio collisione è scongiurato. Anzi. L'armonia celeste è assicurata dall'uso del medesimo linguaggio di ricerca e di libertà.
Vincenzo Roggero http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=6780
253 Mathilde . As the asteroid with a diameter of 53 km was discovered in 1885 by Johann Palisa. As the trio of improvisers that with the self-titled debut introduces us to a music that seems to come from another planet. An unidentified space object that touches the earth, its miseries and its tribulations, and a message of hope for a better world ...
Seven improvisations ranging from six minutes, and broken the "Matanuska" for almost nineteen of "Kalimantan," identified only by name because seventy-four minutes total of 253 Mathilde form a single, indivisible galaxy of sounds, whispers, screams, silence, noise , fragments of life. In search of primeval beauty and pristine, not subject to the superstructure, the codes of interpretation to the fees established
The percussion Charles Hayward are impulses, quivers of leather, metal vibrations that interact with space, objects that are beyond the laws of physics and gravity. The strings of the guitar Han-Earl Park are throwing pulsar signals from space, electromagnetic waves which contaminate the scene and constantly change the appearance. The trumpet (?) Ian Smith vague wandering in this void by deforming the tire sounds, reflecting images that are blown off as dust particles in space.
In its orbit the asteroid 253 Mathilde intercepts the planet Lol Coxhill, but the risk of collision is averted. Indeed. The celestial harmony is ensured by the use of the same language and freedom of research.